Exclusive: Walker Hayes Eager to 'Establish His Presence' at Country Radio


Exclusive: Walker Hayes Eager to 'Establish His Presence' at Country Radio

Recipe: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Bacon

For a mac and cheese you'll want seconds and thirds of, check out this low-calorie, low-fat recipe. Butternut squash and cheddar cheese come together for a mouthwatering, hearty, comforting and SKINNY meal the whole family will love. Crumble some bacon on top and you've got yourself a hit!




Pro tip: About half of a three-pound butternut squash equals out to three cups.


Recipe: Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese with Bacon
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 40-150 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Serving size: Heaping 1⅓ cup


  • 4 slices center-cut bacon
  • ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, small dice
  • 3 cups butternut squash, peeled and small dice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour
  • ¾ cup skim milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • ¾ cup shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 (13.25-ounce) box whole wheat elbow macaroni, dry
  • salt, to taste
  • black pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil, and place a cooling rack on top of the foil.
  2. Lay the bacon strips on the rack and bake for 10-15 minutes, until desired crispness.
  3. When the bacon is cool enough to touch, crumble and set aside.
  4. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Add the onions and butternut squash, stirring frequently. When the onions begin to soften, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to the skillet and cover with a lid. This will steam the squash, helping it to cook faster.
  5. Take the lid off and stir occasionally, adding more water if the squash begins to stick to the skillet. Cook for a total of 25-30 minutes, until the squash is very soft and can be mashed with a wooden spoon.
  6. When the squash is soft enough, mash it in the skillet with a wooden spoon until it makes a coarse puree consistency.
  7. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the elbows according to package directions for al dente. Drain the macaroni and set aside.
  8. While the pasta is cooking, heat a medium saucepan over medium-low heat and add the butter.
  9. Once melted, add the flour and whisk together to make a roux. Continue to whisk and gradually add in the milk and chicken broth, stirring continuously until the sauce starts to thicken, about 2-4 minutes.
  10. Add the cheese and stir to combine, until melted and smooth.
  11. Stir the cheese sauce into the skillet with the squash mixture, and stir to combine the two.
  12. Pour the sauce over the pasta, and stir in the set-aside bacon crumbles. Season with salt and black pepper.

Nutrition Information
Per Serving: (Heaping 1⅓ cup)
Calories: 271
Calories from fat: 72
Fat: 1g
Saturated Fat: 3g
Cholesterol: 18mg
Sodium: 133mg
Carbohydrates: 43g
Fiber: 7g
Sugar: 5g
Protein: 13g
WWP+: 6
SmartPoints: 7

The nutrition content of recipes on Popculture.com has been calculated by Registered Dietitian, Jessica Penner, of Smart Nutrition.